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Employee Engagement: Peddling Success?

New Engagement

What do we mean by employee engagement?

Possibly the most succinct definition comes from the Engaging for Success Report prepared for the Government: "a workplace approach designed to ensure that employees are committed to their organisation's goals and values, motivated to contribute to organisational success, and are able at the same time to enhance their own sense of well-being". So, a win-win situation.

What does this mean in practice?

The financials certainly support the case. A study by Towers Watson found that firms with highly engaged staff experienced an earnings per share growth rate of 28% compared with an 11.2% decline for low engagement firms. In addition, the average number of sick days per year taken by an engaged employee is 2.69; the disengaged take 6.19 – and the CBI reports that sickness absence costs the UK economy £13.4bn a year. And if that's not enough, engaged staff are 87% less likely to leave the organisation than the disengaged – and considering the cost of replacing each employee, this has a significant impact on the bottom line.

The best of all!

One huge advantage of having an engaged workforce is that it makes your company a great place to work! People who feel supported, recognised and valued as part of an organisation are much more motivated to go that extra mile, become brand advocates and help their colleagues. Success breeds success and you can create a virtuous circle. It's no accident that the majority of the "Best 100 Companies to Work for" have high engagement levels.

So how do we go about it?

The key here is that engagement needs to become a cultural norm. It has to be supported from the top and to become a way of life; introducing appreciation, recognition and two-way communication. Many companies find that introducing a reward and recognition programme which aligns with their behaviours and helps to publicly recognise everyone's contribution is a useful way to get the ball rolling. But that's just the start...

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At a Glance

It would seem that the "holy grail" in the business world has become the achievement of high employee engagement. But is this just a passing phase or have we stumbled upon a means of improving business performance which benefits all parties? Well, as we'll see, the evidence certainly points that way.

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